If you’re over 40 there’s a test you can take which predicts your risk of melanoma.
Developed by Queensland researchers at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the online Melanoma Risk Predictor uses melanoma risk factors to determine the user’s chance of developing melanoma in the next three and a half years.
These factors include age, sex, ability to tan, number of moles at age 21, number of skin lesions treated, hair colour and sunscreen use.
According to news.com.au it has a 70 per cent accuracy rate which is much higher than similar tools used to determine breast and bowel cancer risk, and diagnosed 650 people alone during the research period which involved a questionnaire distributed to 40,000 Queenslanders.
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Co-created by Professor David Whiteman and Dr Catherine Olsen, Professor Whiteman said that although the online risk predictors won’t replace medical screening, by identifying high-risk patients it could encourage potential patients to seek regular medical attention.
“This online risk predictor will help identify those people with the highest likelihood of developing melanoma so that they and their doctors can decide how to best manage their risk,” he said.
“Regular screening of those at highest risk may help to detect melanomas early, and hopefully before they’ve spread to the lower layers of the skin and other parts of the body.”
After prostate cancer, breast cancer and bowel cancer, melanoma is Australia’s fourth most common cancer, with Cancer Australia predicting that of 14,320 newly diagnosed cases, 1905 people will die from the disease in 2018 alone.
Apart from potentially saving lives, researchers hope that the risk test could also “ease pressure on the healthcare system,” which cost the Australian healthcare system $201 million in 2017.
Most importantly he specifies that the test is to be used only as a general guide. If you’re at a high-risk of melanoma it’s still important to seek medical attention and visit your doctor, he says, also stating that Australians are generally at a higher risk of melanoma.
“Even if you have a low to medium risk, you still need to be sun safe. Most Australians are at a higher risk of melanoma than people in other countries due to the combined effects of fair skin and very high levels of sunlight.”
You can take the Melanoma Risk Predictor right over here.
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